Martini · Orfano

Photo Credit: JM Leach

As Boston’s bars and restaurants remain closed amid the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve asked some of our favorite industry figures to share classic, easy-to-make drinks you can replicate at home. In return, we hope you’ll consider supporting the industry during this trying time; for instance, by purchasing a gift card to Orfano. 

Big Heart Hospitality beverage director Brian Callahan is no stranger to making drinks. But when tasked with developing Orfano’s signature Martini, he found himself feeling a little intimidated.

“The Martini is such a personal drink. It’s one of the few cocktails where the guest literally instructs the bartender on how to prepare their drink,” he says.

And the restaurant’s Martini cart service, the Martini Alla Cart, only made the stakes higher.

“The idea of showing up tableside and preparing a Martini for someone without giving them the options they have grown accustomed to receiving was very anxiety inducing for me,” Callahan says. “I might as well be trying to convince them to change political party affiliations.”

Yet after “a great deal of trial and error,” Callahan and Orfano bar manager Michael Nathan developed a Martini that could satisfy aficionados and novices alike. The recipe calls for Citadelle Gin, which strikes a nice balance: It avoids being a juniper bomb, yet does not mask the juniper flavor with sweeter botanicals. The drink also includes three-quarters of an ounce of Dolin Dry Vermouth—just enough to nudge it over the border of “wet”—and a single dash of orange bitters, which Callahan says was a mainstay of late 19th and early 20th century Martinis.

“It pulls out some of those citrus notes in the gin and adds brightness,” he says. “I find one dash to be perfect but two to be a bit overkill.”

If you’d like to plan ahead—and enjoy your Martini as cold as possible—you can batch the ingredients in a bottle and store them in the freezer. In lieu of stirring over ice, just add an ounce and a half of water to the bottle for each Martini.

Martini Alla Cart
2½ ounces Citadelle Gin

¾ ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Lemon peel, for expression
Lemon twist, olive, or cocktail onion, for garnish

Add all ingredients except lemon peel and garnishes to a stirring glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and squeeze lemon peel over drink’s surface, skin-side down, to express oil. Garnish as desired.

Photo Credit: JM Leach

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